So Friday is Oct. 13.
Naturally, you’re not thinking about the things you normally think about this time of year, like getting your kids’ Halloween costumes ready, raking that growing field of leaves and pine needles, tuning up the snowblower for winter or planning the family Thanksgiving dinner in less than six weeks (Yikes!).
Nope, you’re thinking about what political party you want to enroll in so you can vote in the state primaries next June.
Yeah, sure you are. Well, the state of New York thinks you are — or should be.
Because of an arcane state rule designed to discourage people from exercising their right to vote for candidates that will appear on the general election ballot, Friday, Oct. 13 — eight months before the next primary election — is the last day to act if you have any inkling of changing your current party affiliation so you can vote in that primary.
Many people are staunch in their political affiliations. But many voters list themselves as unenrolled in any political party. Or they’re registered in, say, the Conservative Party, which often fields candidates that also run as Republicans. Or they’ve become disgruntled with their earlier party of choice and want to make a change.
Whatever the reason, you at some point might want to change your party affiliation.
The natural time to make such a decision is close to the primaries, when you’re geared toward thinking about the primaries, when you’re reminded by the media about them, and when you actually know the names of the candidates who are running in them.
But here in New York, they make you decide a full two seasons earlier.
This problem reared its head most visibly during last year’s presidential primaries, when two of Donald Trump’s children, Eric and Ivanka, were prohibited from voting for their father in the GOP primary because they missed the deadline to change their enrollment from “no party” to “Republican.”
Party leaders don’t want you voting in primaries because they want to control the process.
The more non-traditional party registrants who vote, the greater the chances their preferred candidate might lose.
What better way to discourage voting in them than by making the deadline for changing affiliation so early that people are caught off-guard and can’t change in time? You have to decide now, when next year’s primary elections are probably the last thing on your mind.
Well, don’t let them get you. You have all day today. Download a voter registration form from the Board of Elections website, www.elections.ny.gov and hand-deliver it to your local Board of Elections or Department of Motor Vehicles office before the end of the day Friday.
Friday also happens to be the last day to register to vote for the upcoming Nov. 7 general election, which features local elections and three state ballot propositions, including one asking voters whether the state should hold a constitutional convention.
If you’re not currently registered to vote, your applications must be postmarked Friday, Oct. 13, in order for you to be able to vote next month.
You also can enroll in person.
Don’t let some arbitrary deadlines keep you from exercising your right to vote. If you want to participate, Friday is a very important day.